Christian Meets Chaucer and Crusties
Let's create an impossible scenario. Start with a Bible-thumping preacher standing on a small stool, screaming scripture aloud in a park using amplification. The police arrive after a noise complaint by a hostile man with a long white beard and hair - the incarnation of Mr. Natural ala R. Crumb. He also complains that he does not believe the preaching is biblically accurate (not an arrestable offense). The preacher informs the police that there is case law that says preaching with amplification is not illegal and that only volume can be regulated. He looks for the court ruling on his iPhone and will fax it to the police precinct. The police back off.
Another preacher begins, his voice volume greater than that generated by the small amplifier used previously. Simultaneously, a young man is reading loudly from a text, directed at the preacher. I cannot recognize the language - I assume it is a religious text, perhaps in Hebrew and ask him about it. He is an English literature student and is reading the Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English at full volume. It's a war of words...
A crust punk eating potato chips takes an interest in the Canterbury Tales and stands near the student, following the reading. Another crusty in bright orange hair joins them and eagerly introduces her newly acquired pet rat to the student. Christian meet Chaucer with crusties. It is like a family reunion.
I become too friendly with the crusties, particularly the one with orange hair. I ask if she minds if we take photos. She grants my wish, and my photographer friend Bill and I go into overdrive, shooting away. I learn that the woman's name is Morgan Maginnis. She is very nice, as is her friend, Hays. I ask her a few questions and I videotape her. They give me their email addresses. I am both warmed and disgusted when she wraps her arms around me from behind and takes my pen to clarify one letter in the email address. She is cute, cuddly and very dirty.
Late that night, I run across Morgan, Hays and a group of their friends several blocks from the park behind a luxury highrise apartment building. They recognize me. I stop, say hello and chat. One has an iPhone and asks me to take group photos of them. I take photos with my own camera and assure them that I will email them photos. I ask them direct questions about sex and drugs. They give me direct answers. Are we becoming friends now?
Crusties have been a big problem in the parks. They have been unruly, troublesome, belligerent, drug addicted, homeless, typically jobless and leave garbage strewn everywhere with a virtual campsite in Washington Square Park. You're not supposed to like them. But I learn that Crusties are People Too...
Note: In Part 2, we get a little closer to Morgan through text and video.
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